Technically Impressive But Lacking A Compelling Story
Spanish crime thriller Gun City is a stylishly produced, glitzy film that manages to nail the feel and tone of 1920s Spain to perfection. While the story does fail to inspire as much creativity and enthusiasm as the technicality on display, the setting and world-building is top notch, helped by some very impressive camera work and high production value.
The story opens with a train robbery that ends in a flurry of bullets and bloodshed. Weapons are stolen from one of the carriages and a number of police are left dead at the scene, leaving the Spanish authorities reeling, desperate to find those responsible. Step forward Aníbal Uriarte (Luis Tosar), a grizzled detective who investigates the matter with his three colleagues, Inspector Rediú (Vicente Romero), Comisario Verdaguer (Pep Tosar) and Salvador Ortiz (Paco Tous), whilst playing a dangerous game, flitting between both sides of the ensuing conflict as tensions rise between the Police and rebel anarchists.
At a little over 2 hours and the film completely spoken in Spanish, Gun City is a long film to get through but its slow-paced investigative work is broken up by some explosive fight scenes and brutal acts of violence. From a peaceful equal rights rally ending in a flurry of fists and civil unrest to a breathtaking shootout in a dusty warehouse, Gun City peppers its story with just the right amount of action to keep you watching through to its climactic finale.
We mentioned the technicality of the film earlier and one such example of this sees an early scene in a bar beginning with an establishing crane shot, focused on a glamorous stage, seamlessly switching from an aerial view down to a handheld camera in one long, sweeping shot. It’s moments like this that really helps set Gun City apart from other Spanish films and coupled with the various sweeping establishing shots, including one of the Sagrasa Familia in its early stages of construction, that make Gun City’s 1920s setting realistically depicted.
While the story does fail to inspire the same enthusiasm as the excellent camera work and set design, Gun City is an enjoyable film nonetheless. Much like Cathedral Of The Sea which dropped on Netflix a few months back, Gun City does a fantastic job bringing a historical time period to life making it a decent but somewhat uninspiring option on the streaming platform this weekend.